Email to Members of the People and Families Policy and Scrutiny Committee.

Cllr Lynette Bowers-Flint, Cllr Simon Crow, Cllr Mark Durham, Cllr Jane Fleming, Cllr Marie Goldman, Cllr Raymond John Gooding, Cllr Carlo Guglielmi, Cllr June Lumley, Cllr Peter May, Cllr Aidan McGurran

Dear all,

I read some of the documents regarding the upcoming meeting on Thursday 14th June, on one regarding the work programme it mentioned something about suicide.  This is all the information that was on there and given that I have no idea what a work programme is or in what context suicide is on there, whether it’s adult suicides or children’s suicide you are interested in, I am unsure if what I am about to write is relevant or not, but for reasons that will become clear I felt that sending an email was necessary just in case.

What I would like to see happen is that a policy is put in place where when a child attempts suicide and they are under any kind of plan from Essex Children’s Services, then the circumstances of that suicide attempt are investigated and not totally ignored.  Firstly, this was greatly benefit the welfare of the child and may go a long way to ensuring the child does not attempt suicide again, and secondly, things can then be put in place to reduce risk to other children.

My child who was then <redacted>, attempted suicide on <redacted> while on a child in need plan.  Not only have Essex Children’s Services refused to investigate the circumstances of my childs suicide attempt, they have totally ignored that it happened, and in fact withdrew the help we were receiving almost immediately.  

My child still has suicidal ideation due to the same reasons that caused the initial attempt last year. 

An investigation and my child feeling listened to, and more importantly, believed, may have been able to change this.  It is still very much a risk that my child will attempt suicide again for the same reasons as the first attempt.

I submitted a customer complaint about 18 months ago which covered what would go on to cause my child to attempt suicide. 

Reasons for refusal by Essex Children’s Services as to why they would not investigate my complaint kept on changing as I challenged them and proved their excuses were false.  The fifth reason they were firm about even though it was obviously false.  The 5th false excuse was proven false by your monitoring officer, Paul Turner in June 2021.  However, another false reason for not investigating was then given by Paul Turner.  Apparently now the excuse is that my complaint was submitted late so they cannot investigate. 

This is also untrue and just the fact that they gave 5 different false excuses that weren’t anything to do with a late complaint before running out of excuses and just saying the complaint was late even though this is easily provable to be false and I sent information proving this to Paul Turner, although I never heard back.

Please feel free to contact Paul Turner who will be able to confirm that Essex Children’s Services have refused to investigate the cause of my child suicide attempt, it is possible that the excuse has now changed after I pointed out that the 6th excuse, the one regarding my complaint being late, was as false as the other 5 excuses. 

Whatever the current excuse, Paul Turner will be able to confirm that Children’s Services have adamantly refused to investigate my child’s suicide attempt at all, no matter what excuse is being put forward by the local authority at this time or at any time.

I would like to see a policy put in place that all attempted suicides by children on any kind of plan from Essex Children’s Services are investigated fully and promptly, whether or not a parent has put in a customer complaint regarding what eventually caused the suicide attempt.

This will not only protect the child who has made the suicide attempt and may go some way to preventing the child from attempting suicide again, but will also protect further vulnerable children who may end up attempting suicide, or even succeeding in their attempt, from getting to that point.

Essex Children’s Services do not treat a child attempting suicide as a serious issue.  There were social workers involved at the time, my child was very vocal regarding the reasons for their attempt, both at the hospital to professionals there, and also to the two social workers involved at that time.  The two social workers at the time were only allowed to stand there and could not act as if my child was telling the truth due to the fact that Essex Children’s Services were refusing to investigate what my child was giving as reasons for their suicide attempt.  That wasn’t the social workers fault, but it was incredibly harmful to my child when my child was incredibly vulnerable straight after a suicide attempt.

Having lived through it, it is so incredibly harmful for the child to attempt suicide and then have social care be totally uninterested that they just made a suicide attempt, I cannot put into words how harmful this is, both in the short term, and in the longer term.  Hence why i’m writing this, as having experienced it, and seeing the added burden on my child as children’s social care basically just ignored that it had happened, a policy needs to be put in place so that no other children have to go through what my child went through, and is still going through.

Again, I believe Paul Turner can request access to my child’s notes if any of you are interested enough regarding the reasons my child gave for their suicide attempt.  The suicide attempt was on <redacted> so there should be an entry into my child’s social care notes a week or two later regarding the discussion my child had with the social workers detailing their reasons for the suicide attempt.

Also, if anyone states to you that an investigation was done, then please ask to see it, there was no investigation done.

I am just using my childs attempted suicide as an example, but I would go as far as to shamelessly beg all of you to please do all that you can to make some kind of policy that ensures that if a child on any kind of local authority plan attempts suicide, that it is fully and thoroughly investigated.

The additional burden on my childs poor mental health on their voice being totally ignored by the local authority has been severe, as I stated, my child still has suicidal ideation and is struggling with a whole host of other mental health problems.

I would literally be willing to get down on my knees in front of every single one of you and beg for you to somehow make it a policy that attempted suicides by children are investigated, it would save children’s lives.  In the case of my child and the uncertainty of whether my child will attempt suicide again, it may even have saved my child from feeling how they do now. 

In any case, from my lived experience, investigating when a child attempts suicide is something that should be a must and a priority.

This is not a request for a reversal of Children’s Services refusal to investigate my childs suicide attempt or any other matter i’ve complained about, after now 6 different false excuses regarding how they absolutely cannot, it is clear that any investigation would not be open or honest, Essex Children’s Services do not want to hold themselves accountable and have repeatedly lied to ensure that doesn’t happen.

I will be dealing with the complaint I made via public means.  I have a blog, and will post this email there.  Once my blog is finished I will be going to the newspapers with our story.  Not to make Children’s Services change the way they do things, but to get an acknowledgement for my children that horrible, terrible things happened to them.

As i’ve already stated you can confirm that what I am saying is correct by contacting Paul Turner, your monitoring officer, who will be able to confirm that Children’s Services have refused to investigate my child’s suicide attempt and that due to this the social workers at the time were not able to acknowledge to my child that when they were detailing their lived experience that it was true.

Paul Turner should also have a list of the now 6 different reasons why children’s services refused to investigate the most serious parts of my complaint.

A policy whereby all attempted suicides by children are taken seriously and investigated fully will end up saving the lives of vulnerable children and I beg all of you to consider this.

It is clear that Essex Children’s Services reputation and the way other professionals view them as extremely important, in my experience more important than safeguarding children.  Putting a policy in place would also protect Essex Children’s Services reputation as i’m sure that dead children likely will make the local authority not look so good.  So if you are hesitant to put a policy in place for the sake of saving children’s lives, a policy would also protect the local authorities reputation.

Please, if it is in your power to do so, I beg you to consider that if there is any possible way that this could be made a policy that there is no way for any officer acting on behalf of Essex County Council in any capacity to refuse to do, it would benefit vulnerable children so much and will end up saving children’s lives.

I do have a blog and will be posting this email there as I am being open, honest, and accountable to the public.  There are many other failings by children’s services and other policies that need to be in place to protect children that just aren’t there, including two policies which if children’s services had would have saved me from PTSD and nearly killing myself.  

Once again, Paul Turner will have details of all this as there will be a list of extremely serious incidents that children’s services have refused to investigate, as described above there have been 6 different reasons, one after another until the latest ‘complaint was submitted late’ one.

I will be going to the press with our story including what i’ve mentioned above regarding my child’s attempted suicide and the local authority ignoring it completely, and everything else in my blog, which is far from finished.

Obviously regarding all of the evidence I have stated you can get from Paul Turner I am already in possession with, but I will not be supplying it to you as I feel you will take it more seriously when the monitoring officer confirms that my child made a suicide attempt and there have now been six different reasons as to why the local authority cannot investigate, the first five have already been proven false, the sixth is also false and easily proven to be false, which i’ve given the evidence to Paul Turner to prove, but he doesn’t care.

Please be assured that this is not in any way a request for my child’s suicide attempt to be investigated, as the local authority already know, I plan to take the whole story to the press as an example of just how bad essex children’s services are.

The not investigating attempted suicides though is something I desperately want to change, and I am serious, I would get down on my knees in front of all of you to beg for you to make a policy whereby child suicide attempts, and the reasons the child gives for their attempt, are investigated fully, without delay, and without making up fake excuses so that children’s services cannot hold themselves accountable.

As i’ve already stated, Paul Turner will be able to confirm that ECC have adamantly refused to investigate the circumstances around my childs suicide attempt, he will also be able to confirm that it is a known risk that my child could make another attempt.